On 16/02/14 The BKO team kick-started their season by competing at the 2014 WAKO British Championships in Birmingham. This prestigious tournament is a qualifier for the world and European championships and is a forerunner for amateur fighters to train with team GB.
The final of the men’s veterans under 94kg category saw a showdown between BKO head coaches, Ron Peploe and Steve O’Grady. Although Ron Peploe edged the close bout to secure gold, he later reflected that Steve O’Grady had a slight disadvantage by competing in another section that day. The pair went on to joke that they may as well of fought this bout at their club location in Basingstoke, something they do regularly in training.
Steve ‘monster’ Gribben, who had trained hard to trim down for the under 80kg section, secured 3rd place to gain a bronze medal. This was Steve’s first tournament since the Southern Championships in September 2012 and an ideal springboard for the Irish open just around the corner. Steve’s hard work certainly paid off as he secured an opportunity to train with team GB as a result of this tournament.
Phillipa ‘Tank’ Peploe (Ron’s niece) now has a number of tournaments under her belt and, on this occasion, lost in the 1st round against the overall winner of the ‘Ladies over 75kg’ category. Phillipa will always put up a good fight and was only just beaten on the day. At this level, the margin between ‘win or lose’ is paper thin and it can sometimes require a bit of luck on the day. It is ‘matt time’ which helps a fighter come of age and Phillipa has really demonstrated this.
George Peploe lost his first fight to the eventual winner in the mens under 75kg category. The inspirational BKO coach, 22, now competes at the very highest level at both domestic and international tournaments. His selfless dedication to his students, despite his own injury set backs, is a shining example of the theme that continues to run through the core of BKO.
by Neil Jepson